Improving Processes


Total Quality Management and Continuous Improvement

Historically, 30% to 40% of a company's net sales can be lost to poor quality. Initial TQI/CI implementation projects normally identify 30% of this figure, which proves to be an excellent
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starting point. More importantly, our subjective approach allows for all members of the client organization to continuously apply TQI/CI concepts long after we have departed.

Paradigm Associates has been charter members of the Total Quality Institute (TQI) since its founding in 1992. The Total Quality Institute has developed a proven process of Total Quality Management (TQI) and Continuous Improvement (CI) to meet the following six criteria:

  1. It is specific to the current organizational climate.

  2. The teachings of four recognized quality experts - Deming, Juran, Crosby, and Carlzon - are presented so the client can define their own set of quality principles.

  3. It is tied directly to the strategic objectives and goals of the organization.

  4. It addresses "system" issues consistent with TQM/CI practices:

    • Prevention rather than detection

    • Simplicity rather than complexity

    • Decisions are based on measurement rather than gut feel

    • Statistical Process Control where applicable

    • The Internal Customer

  5. It addresses the "people" issues necessary in a quality organization. Experience has shown that when this element of the implementation process is neglected, the results can be disastrous. Attempting "employee involvement" without addressing leadership and management development results in no effective change being made in the culture of the organization. TQM/CI becomes the scapegoat.

  6. It is results driven. Quality Improvement ( elimination of defects) and Quality Planning ( building a competitive advantage) projects are identified early on so that employees learn total quality while achieving tangible results.

Competence and Change

By focusing people on key result areas through the use of project improvement teams, the company as a whole begins to move toward the objective of being a total quality organization.

To foster this, projects are selected that solve problems facing the organization and capitalize on opportunities defined in the company's strategic plan. The organization's Quality Council, consisting of key managers, manages these projects.


To aid in the process and to insure its continuance, facilitators from within the organization are trained in the details of TQM and become the in-house resource to insure that the organization is equipped to continue this process. At the end of this period, an evaluation is conducted to define the future steps necessary for continuance.

Improving Business and Production Processes Through Cycle Time Reduction (CTR)

Cycle Time Reduction is a very quick way to re-engineer business and production processes for speed and maximum company performance and it is critical to your bottom line. It provides specific, proven techniques that are guaranteed to cut costs and dramatically improve the overall efficiency of your facility.

Did you know that right now your organization, regardless of its size, is almost guaranteed to be wasting thousands of dollars on unnecessary procedures and processes that add no value to your operations or your customer and in fact slow your response time?

Did you know that even in a manufacturing environment, business processes account for almost half of an organization's processes so it is not just a production or manufacturing firm concern? It affects every organization.

Did you know that customers are five times more likely to switch to another provider of your services or supplier of your product because of poor service than because of poor quality or lower price?

Reducing Costs and Increasing Productivity

Cycle Time Reduction techniques identify the core processes in your organization, define
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"value-added" versus "non-value-added" processes, break through the barriers to speed, and design the "ideal" process that allows your organization to work at maximum productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Some important facts:

  • Statistics consistently show at least a 40-to-1 return on every dollar invested in cycle time reduction.

  • Cycle time reduction can reduce overhead by as much as 50%.

  • As many as 75% of the steps in each business process are non-value-added.

  • New product development can be reduced from over two years to under one year (and sometimes much less) with significantly fewer resources.

  • Response to special customer requests can be reduced from a 3-month turn-around to a mere 3 weeks or less.

A few success stories from the use of Cycle Time Reduction processes:

  • Using cycle time reduction techniques, IBM Brazil eliminated 50 unnecessary procedures, 450 different forms and 2.5 million documents a year.

  • A small manufacturing company ( under 30 people) reduced a production cycle time on a key product line from 25 days to 4 days and simultaneously dramatically improved its finished product quality.

  • A major computer chip company estimated a 30% increase in productivity with a savings of over $60 million.

  • A major aerospace firm provided the same volume of product year over year, while at the same time accelerating throughput and improving on-time delivery, with one less shift, no increase in standard hours, and $800,000 less overtime.

  • An expense report process at a major U.S. manufacturing plant went from 3 weeks to 1 day and required 5 fewer people.

Cycle Time Reduction is not just the latest management technique. It's a proven strategy to re-engineer your core business processes through speed, eliminating waste and maintaining maximum efficiency ( productivity) and effect.

Specifics of the TQI/CI Implementation Process

Implementation of Total Quality Management and Continuous Improvement includes the following components.


During the analysis phase, interviews are conducted with senior management
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to determine:

  • The current level of "quality thinking" within the organization.
  • The current strategic direction, i.e., the status of the corporate strategic plan and the business plans within the company.
  • The key issues that are being dealt with by management.
  • The overall culture of the company.

Additionally, an Organizational Climate Survey can be conducted in order to ascertain the environment within the company. This survey is tailored so as to be consistent with the organization's level of quality implementation if the organization has already begun such an implementation.

Comprehension and Commitment

Senior managers spend three days (continuously) learning the concepts of TQM as viewed by various TQM experts. Management then chooses those principles that apply to their organization and this becomes the foundation of their quality culture. They articulate quality principles, a quality statement, a vision, values, and a mission.
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At this point, management is able to make the commitment to attain these objectives.

A company roll-out meeting is held, at which time management presents its quality focus and establishes expectations so that the quality management style can be implemented. This serves as the foundation for employees to see their new roles and the new relationships that will exist.

Senior managers, middle managers ( department heads) and supervisors are afforded leadership development training to assist them in making the managerial transitions necessary.

Trained Facilitators

TQI/CI is characterized by the participation of all employees. To achieve this, internal facilitators will be trained to effectively carry the TQI/CI process to every employee.
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Facilitators are proactive leaders and risk takers, who have good interpersonal skills, are dedicated to TQI/CI, and are viewed by the organization to be in good standing. Each facilitator is appointed and remains active through the mutual consent of both the facilitator and the company.

The responsibilities of the facilitators are to insure understanding of the TQI/CI process, use the appropriate quality tools for the level of importance and method of delivering service excellence, customer identification and satisfaction.

Facilitators are the organization's internal consultants in the TQM/Cl process. They serve as trouble shooters to any project team, and serve as faculty for training new employees. They also notify management of additional training needs.

The facilitators will receive 20-30 hours of instruction, depending on their knowledge and skill levels. Their training is designed to provide a solid foundation in four key areas:

  1. Understanding the TQI/CI concepts and the many ramifications for the total organization, the departments, and the individuals involved.

  2. Understanding the nature and the needs of the adult learner as a basis for instructional preparation planning and delivery of instruction.

  3. Understanding the process of training and the need to be skillful, knowledgeable, thoroughly prepared, flexible, energetic, dynamic and sensitive to the needs of the learner.

  4. Ability to organize material and provide instruction that is motivational and clear.

Each facilitator will initially provide eight hours of instruction to each employee.

Employee Training

It is the education of all employees in the TQI/CI process that produces results. These results can take
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the form of:

  • Cost reduction.

  • Improved morale and pride.

  • Improved team work.

  • Reduction of inter-departmental barriers.

  • Greater concern for customer satisfaction.

  • Increased share of market.

  • Improved understanding of how the organization operates and the importance of the individual to overall success.

While all of these benefits are important, developing a motivated work force and trained quality teams becomes an organization's greatest asset.

Initial employee training involves approximately eight ( 8) hours at time intervals to suit the organization's schedule. Some of the topics include:

  • Quality Principles

  • Customer/Supplier Relationships and Expectations

  • Departmental Processes

  • Process Problems, Variation, Root Cause Identification

  • Complexity, Flow Charting, Special Causes Quality Indicators, Measurement, Quality Tools

  • Tools and Data Analysis, Data Charts

We recommend that facilitators be trained to conduct the employee training.

Support Systems

To make any change permanent and part of the culture fabric, certain support systems are critical.
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  • Reward and Recognition - Change represents risk. In order to encourage everyone in the organization to accept risk, it is important to establish a series of safety nets in the form of incentives. Reward and recognition should be based upon the attainment of quality goals. Since we get the behavior that is rewarded, it is important to reward such behavior.
  • Performance Evaluation - Performance evaluations, if used, should be reflective of the TQI/CI process, customer identification and satisfaction, and supportive of the individual's business and personal development goals.
  • Data Development - "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". Proper measurement becomes the strength of TQI/CI. Data Driven Decisions should become everyday language and every effort should be made to expand the inter-departmental databases. These databases serve as indices of improvement achieved and are indicators reflecting additional needed improvements.
  • Training and Development - It is important that a consistent ongoing program for training new employees and attending to the needs of existing employees be initiated and its results measured.
  • Communication - It is essential to develop a method of communicating the organization's quality system and accomplishments to both customers and suppliers. Management will be able to document their TQM/CI process to attain and maintain supplier certification as necessary. Communication of team and individual accomplishments and new ideas or approaches needs a forum for all to see and understand. A viable format can accomplish several objectives from reward and recognition to promoting new approaches. Open and honest information is a great strength of a TQM/CI approach.

If you would like to discuss your specific situation, please contact us at or call 908. 276.4547.